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Joseph Phelps Insignia 2016

  • RP100
  • JS98
  • JD98
  • WE98
  • WS95
750ML / 14.5% ABV
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750ML / 14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2016 Insignia is fresh and focused on entry with expressive cocoa powder, graphite and earthy spices. Elegant and complex with a supple, creamy texture and bold tannins, this latest vintage offers luscious ripe plum and blackberry character with hints of roasted coffee and dark cherry throughout the palate to a long, velvety finish.
Blend: 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, 3% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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RP 100
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A barrel sample made up of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Malbec to be aged for 24 months in 100% new French oak, the 2016 Insignia Proprietary Red Wine has a deep garnet-purple color and is a little reticent at this still nascent stage (to be bottled in January 2019), opening out to reveal chocolate-covered cherries, wild blueberries and black raspberries with touches of underbrush, cedar chest and bouquet garni plus a hint of grilled meat. Medium to full-bodied, the palate springs forth with exciting energy, offering loads of red and black fruit layers and compelling herbal sparks, featuring a firm, fine-grained backbone and bags of freshness lifting the finish. 13,500 cases are expected to be made.
Barrel Sample: 97-100
JS 98
James Suckling
Lovely density and intensity with dark berries, blueberries and inky undertones with hints of spice, chocolate and walnuts. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a flavorful finish. The texture and length are fantastic here. Complex. Hints of smoky wood at the end. This needs three to five years more in bottle age. Exciting wine. Try after 2022.
JD 98
Jeb Dunnuck
Not yet bottled, the 2016 Insignia should match – or exceed – the 2015, yet it shows a slightly more vibrant, cooler, more classic character. Vibrant notes of crème de cassis, violets, crushed rocks, and lead pencil all give way to a full-bodied 2016 that has silky tannins, no hard edges, and thrilling purity of fruit. It’s going to be reasonably approachable on release, yet I suspect won’t hit prime time until 4-5 years after the vintage and should cruise for 2-3 decades.
Barrel Sample: 96-98
WE 98
Wine Enthusiast
This is a lengthy, powerful blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 3% each of Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Together they coalesce as one seamless, complex experience of black currant, brambly berry and black pepper, with accents of graphite, pencil and cedar. Robust in tannin and youthful energy, it will benefit from aging. Enjoy 2026–2031.
Cellar Selection
WS 95
Wine Spectator
This is laden with dark currant, blackberry and black cherry preserve flavors, infused gently with alder, incense and black tea notes, all carried by a long swath of fine-grained tannins. Hints of warm stone and tobacco gild the finish. Best from 2021 through 2035.
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Joseph Phelps

Joseph Phelps Vineyards

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Joseph Phelps Vineyards, California
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Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking.

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Napa Valley

Red Wine

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Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.

Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.

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SOU938785_2016 Item# 525837

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